Kids in the back seat, your partner in crime next to you, a great song coming through the speakers and nothing but the open road ahead. Summer is a great time for road trips. Aside from a cooler of your favorite snacks and a never ending playlist of your favorite music what can you do to make this year's road trip the best yet?
Pre-trip maintenance can be a life safer: from oil changes to tire rotations and belt changes, these basic maintenance items can prevent en route breakdowns and costly repairs. Remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, the same is true in car care as well as physical health.
Helping to maintain the health of your car can start from the ground up. Making sure your vehicle's tires are properly inflated prior to starting you trip will help increase gas mileage and prevent uneven wear, which can cause problems down the line. Maintaining your tire integrity works from the top down as well. By ensuring you evenly distribute the load across the vehicle, and not overload the car. You can find your vehicle's maximum load capacity printed on the sticker inside the driver's door. And don't forget to make sure your luggage doesn't block the use of any of your mirrors. Better to have to pick up a couple items at your destination than being in an accident due to lack of visibility.
Before you get on the road make sure you take a bit of time to plan your route. Choosing roads that will allow you to maintain a constant speed will improve gas mileage. Planning meals and rest stops during times of heavy congestion - like morning and afternoon rush hour - will help you avoid stop and go traffic, improve gas mileage, and steer clear of one of the most accident prone driving situations.
Although it can be tempting to power through your time on the road it's important to remember to take a break. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that drivers who are behind the wheel for more than 8 hours are at nearly twice the risk of accidents. The Department of Transportation adds to these statistics, citing an 18% increase in fatal crashes during the summer compared to other times of year.
When you do decide to take a break and fill up the gas tank, it's important to remember that the parking lot may be filled with families just like yours, filling up before they head back out on the open road.
Since parking lot safety is our area of expertise, let us offer you a few bits of advise to help ensure a safe experience. Keep an eye out for children behind, in front of, and under vehicles as you traverse the parking lot. Also be on the lookout for distracted walkers. All those responsible drivers who have put their phones away while driving have a lot of messages to reply to, weather forecasts to read, and photos to post, which can mean they aren't looking for cars moving around the parking lot.
If you happen to fuel up late at night, or perhaps reach your hotel after the sun has set, be sure to choose a parking space that is well lit and in an area with both foot and vehicle traffic. These two factors will help ensure that if something were to happen to you or your vehicle you could easily be spotted and someone could provide assistance.
Although we spend a majority of our time here helping businesses owners, facility managers, and contractors construct a safe parking situation we also think it's important to put some of the power in the customers' hands as well. So keep your eyes and ears open and use these tips to make your summer road trip the best one yet!